Indonesian asylums prepared for depressed election losers

April 2nd, 2009 - 4:09 pm ICT by IANS  

Jakarta, April 2 (DPA) Mental hospitals across Indonesia are prepared to treat politicians who may need psychiatric therapy after they lose next month’s legislative elections, the Health Ministry said Thursday.
More than 600,000 candidates are vying for some 18,000 seats in national, provincial and district legislatures in the April 9 elections, the third democratic polls since the fall of former autocratic president Suharto in 1998.

The Health Ministry has ordered the nation’s 32 mental hospitals to anticipate a surge in patients after the results of the elections are announced, said Sumardi, a ministry spokesman.

“Legislative candidates spend huge fortunes to get elected. It is natural that losers may get depressed,” said Sumardi, who like many Indonesians goes by a single name.

The director of the state-run West Java Mental Hospital, Baniah Patriawati, was quoted as saying by the Republika daily that medical records showed half of the candidates from West Java were emotionally unstable and depressed.

“Depression and emotional disturbances can’t be the basis for not allowing people to run for office,” Baniah was quoted as saying. “Only if they are psychotic (they’re not allowed to run).”

The Jakarta Post said a politician in East Java province, Yuli Nursanto, has been treated at a mental hospital after losing an election for district chief.

He ran up huge debts after spending 3 billion rupiah ($261,000) to fund his campaign, the Post said.

The newspaper said a recent survey by Hasan Sadikin Hospital in the West Java capital of Bandung concluded that poll candidates were susceptible to mental disorders with symptoms such as weariness, insomnia, frustration, the feeling of uselessness and the urge to commit suicide.

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